Enterprise use cases set to drive metaverse momentum

NEW DELHI :Virtual reality (VR) goggles, immersive games and new shopping experiences introduced consumers to the metaverse in the last two years; however, the real growth of metaverse may happen on the enterprise side, as companies find multiple use cases.

The metaverse is defined as a virtual immersive environment that mirrors our reality through technologies such as AI, blockchain, 5G, community and power platforms, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and so-called digital twins – virtual replicas of existing physical objects, systems or infrastructures—will drive the growth of the enterprise metaverse, industry experts said.

According to them, the consumer side was the more visible and hyped side of the metaverse; however, there may be far more money to be made in the enterprise metaverse, a side that most consumers will never directly see. “Being in its early stages, most businesses are figuring out the right use cases,” said Ashootosh Chand, PwC India partner, digital and emerging technologies. “While there is a perceived slowdown in metaverse projects due to the current economic crisis, the sentiment on the corporate side will remain strong as there will be many use cases in the next 3-5 years,” he said.

“Brands are creating new, fully immersive environments and finding a way to engage customers in them. However, the current metaverses lack interoperability, which is a challenge,” he added.

According to a PwC India report titled ‘Our Take – Embracing the Metaverse’, published in April, out of 150 Indian businesses surveyed, 25% are planning to embed the metaverse into their organizational activities within a year. Chand explained how a digital twin will be of use in the metaverse — an automaker building a factory in the metaverse can do a lot of scenario planning and product improvements that are difficult in the real world. He also mentioned deployments in logistics, manufacturing, BFSI, quality assurance, and remote support, highlighting the impact on training and collaboration. India, with its thriving tech ecosystem and vast pool of skilled professionals, is well-positioned to embrace and capitalize on the opportunities presented by the enterprise metaverse. However, experts believe there are challenges that need to be addressed, including privacy concerns, data security issues, and ethical considerations surrounding AI-powered simulations.

Comprehensive infrastructure development is also necessary to support widespread adoption of the enterprise metaverse.

Reliable connectivity, robust computing power and a skilled workforce are crucial factors that need attention for this technology to reach its full potential.

Additionally, interoperability is a challenge at present, as users on one platform should be able to communicate, interact, share data, and content with those on another platform.

Management consulting firm Bain & Co. said in an August 2023 report that the size of the metaverse will grow to $900 billion by 2030.

Companies that engage in the early stages of metaverse development over the next five to ten years are more likely to become market winners, according to the report.

Kunal Purohit, chief digital services officer of IT services firm Tech Mahindra said, TechMVerse, the company’s metaverse practice, has enabled it to transform customer experience and deliver real business outcomes by enabling greater interactive and immersive experiences than before.

“We are experiencing increased demand for metaverse and other futuristic projects across various sectors, including banking, financial services, manufacturing, telecom, media, entertainment, healthcare, and life sciences,” said Purohit, adding that in the future, projects related to the metaverse, AI, AR/VR, and quantum computing will attract more deals.

Vishal Shah, general manager of XR and Metaverse at Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group, believes there is still a lot of work to make the metaverse happen but is optimistic about its progress. “Right now, extended reality (XR) solutions for the enterprise are already thriving. It will serve as a foundation for much larger and deeper experiences that consumers will know as the metaverse in the future,” he said.

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